CHERRY Rondina’s University of Santo Tomas team may have lost to two-time defending champion Ateneo, but she nonetheless earned the respect of Ms. Volleyball herself, Alyssa Valdez.
The sophomore open spiker, who always serves as fuel to the Tigresses with her boundless energy and unshakeable confidence, was praised by the two-time UAAP MVP following the team’s 22-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-25 loss to the Lady Eagles on Sunday at The Arena.
Rondina, 19, led her team with 21 markers, just two points shy of Valdez’s output. She erupted for a career-high 30 points in the school’s first match of the season - a 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 30-28, 14-16, setback to Adamson.
“Fighter talaga eh,” said Valdez of Rondina, who bagged the UAAP beach volleyball title in her rookie year in tandem with Rica Rivera.
“Sa beach volleyball pa lang kapag nakakalaban mo ‘yun she means business,” added the 22-year oldValdez, named Ms. Volleyball by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) for the third consecutive year. “Kapag nasa loob siya ng court wala siyang ibang iisipin. She has that killer instinct.”
Valdez, who played for UST in high school, only have good words for the 5-foot-6 pride of Cebu.
“Oh my God, super layo ang mararating (niya), and even if she doesn’t have that height that most of the players have, hindi naman ata kailangan ni Rondina ng height,” she said.
The Ateneo star believes Rondina’s all-around game not only makes up for her lack of height, but also makes her the ideal player any coach would love to have in a team.
“Parang it takes a lot of effort to get a point, to jump, I mean she helps the team talaga not only sa offense, kahit maliit may blocking, may depensa, may first ball,” noted Valdez.
“Ano pa ang hahanapin mo sa isang player ‘di ba? Sobrang bait pa ng bata, sobrang hard working, ‘yun talaga ang hinahanap ng coaches,” she added.